Category Archives: Caribbean Plus Lit News

Literary news of interest from the Caribbean and wider world

Meanwhile, in Good Book News

This past week we’ve reported on Caribbean poets Ishion Hutchinson and Kwame Dawes, both of Jamaica, winning the same lucrative literary prize; the broadcast of Angles of Light 2 ; and more good news for our community. But there’s even more great things like…

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posted by @waywivewordz on twitter.

The release of New Daughters of Africa, which includes my story Evening Ritual and 199 other writers from across the African diaspora – some well known, some of us lesser known (or a lot less known) but all thrilled to be a part of a publication which follows 25 years on from the original Daughters of Africa. “New Daughters of Africa has been a truly collaborative venture: writers steered me in the direction of others whose work they admire. Altogether, more than 200 writers from more than 50 countries contributed work to the new anthology, from Margo Jefferson to Ayòbámi Adébáyò, Malorie Blackman to Yrsa Daley-Ward. New Daughters of Africa begins with some important entries from the 18th and 19th centuries – a reminder that later generations stand tall because of those who have gone before.” – from an article by editor Margaret Busby (second from left in the image above) in The (UK) Guardian. Here’s an excerpt from a review in The Irish Times: ‘A major theme throughout the anthology is restoring a history of African feminist lineage. “When someone says that feminism isn’t African, we are reminded that we do not have the historical proof to show how continuous our presence is on the continent,” writes Finnish-Nigerian journalist Minna Salami. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, another Nigerian and the celebrated author of Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah, passionately describes her great-grandmother, who she is sure was a feminist, whether or not she used that word for it.’

The return of the Nobel Prize for Literature (which you’ll remember has been won by two recently departed Caribbean writers – Derek Walcott and V. S. Naipaul) announcing plans to announce two winners this year after taking a year to re-group. ‘In an effort to restore public confidence in the Nobel Prize for Literature, the academy has changed the system by which the Nobel Committee arrives at its decisions. The academy has appointed five independent external members to add a new perspective to the decision. The independent committee will participate in selecting Nobel laureates and submit its own joint proposal for the winner. The new system will be used to pick the 2018 and 2019 laureates. The foundation emphasized that the academy has “taken a number of important steps to deal with the problems that arose late in 2017, and more are planned.” According to the foundation’s release, “the organizational structure has been clarified and the Academy intends to practice greater openness, for example concerning its finances.” The academy also plans to study how to handle member expulsions in the future, as well as introducing time limitations on academy membership.’ – from an article in Publisher’s Weekly

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Ingrid Persaud reading from her book in progress at an event in Barbados in 2018.

News of a bidding war for the forthcoming novel of Trinidad born, Barbados and UK based writer, Ingrid Persaud, a recent winner of several major short fiction awards. ‘Faber has acquired the debut from BBC Short Story winner Ingrid Persaud to be a superlead for 2020 following a seven-publisher auction. Love After Love was described by Faber as “a major work of fiction”, to be published as a superlead for Faber, published in spring 2020. Louisa Joyner, editorial director at Faber, concluded a deal for UK and Commonwealth Rights to the debut following a seven-way auction with Zoë Waldie at Rogers, Coleridge and White (RCW) with Waldie securing several international deals ahead of the London Book Fair next week (12th-14th March) with deals with Gyldendal in Norway and Gyldendal in Denmark, offers in Italy and others expected shortly.’ – from thebookseller.com 

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

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Angles of Light 2

Earlier this year, I shared audio of my reading on Chapel FM (in Leeds, England) programme Angles of Light. The Juleus Ghunta (author Tata and the Big Bad Bull author) production will broadcast part 2 on March 23rd as part of Chapel FM’s annual arts festival, Writing on Air (WOA). It will feature readings by 26 poets, including John Robert Lee, Nancy Anne Miller, Marion Bethel, Mervyn Morris, MJ Fievre, Chadd Cumberbatch, and Ann–Margaret Lim. The show will be one and a half hours long.

Here’s the day’s programme:

WOA Programme 2019_Anges of Light_Mar 23rd.jpg

Angles of Light 2 is at 9:45 p.m. Here’s where you can listen live.

As someone who tries through Wadadli Pen to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, one way being through this platform, Juleus Ghunta (my list buddy: we both have books – my Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and his Tata and the Big Bad Bull – with Caribbean Reads publishing) deserves credit for bringing Caribbean writers to a platform to which he has access. Respect.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

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Reading Room and Gallery 33

Sit back and enjoy, and when you’re done, if you want to sit back and enjoy some more, use the search feature to the right to search ‘reading room and gallery’ and visit the previous installments.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

POETRY

“The motherland had called our sons to her bosoms
come, sons come fight for your motherland, she said;
that bitch

Son, I have no language for this loss
him dead” – from Unwritten (Caribbean poets sharing poems inspired by the Caribbean experience in the second World War) on BBC Sounds 

FICTION

“Meanwhile, the smell of bread, the taste of it. We’d split a loaf, slice it, and the steam would bloom up. We’d devour it. I’d bring out some butter and salt from the walk-in fridge and we’d stand in that kitchen, facing the empty bar and two-tops, eating our prize in silence. This was our communion, a religious moment, and there was nothing to contemplate but bread, and the soft inside was hot enough to burn you, and the crust could cut up the roof of your mouth.

Then I’d drive home. I’d circle my neighborhood, looking for parking, craving sleep, late afternoon, the sky turning orange. In my dreams I baked bread, ruined bread, ate bread. It went like this. Soon it would be early morning again, and I’d be trying to remember where I put my car so that I could drive back to the kitchen to bake bread, to make the kitchen dirty with flour again.” – Butter by Eve Gleichman 2016 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

***

“She told me I could serve her in heaven. She accompanied me to school each day.” – from Genesis by Tope Folarin

***

“They’re showing familiar-looking aerial footage, a SWAT team crossing the sports fields and the track, when I realize I’ve seen this all before, because I recognize that track.” – Breaking by Christopher Fox

***

“I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal— having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

***

– Jojo Instiful and Tamera George reading from the children’s picture book With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse at a 2018 Black History Month event organized by the Barnes Hill Community Development Organization and held at the Barnes Hill Community Reservoir Park.

For published short fiction and/or poetry by Antiguans and Barbudans, click the links for A-M and N-Z.

REPORTING

‘“Ryan really wanted them to have these blankets close off their costumes because he wanted them to have this moment of reveal, where they push the blankets back and you see their weaponry and they go into battle,” said Carter of her work on Black Panther. “Ryan felt he couldn’t really do the Black Panther story without having gone to Africa, so he went and spent some time with the Basotho people [in Lesotho] and he fell in love with these blankets and I see why — they’re beautiful.”

Having purchased 150 Basotho blankets from South Africa and “stamped [the fictional metal] vibranium on one side to make them like shields for the warriors,” Carter said, the blankets were inevitably screen-tested by Marvel as too thick and unusable. So one of Carter’s assistants spent hours shaving each one of the 150 blankets with a men’s shaver to get it right.’ – 10 Surprising Facts About Oscar Winner Ruth E. Carter and Her Designs

***

“Of course, Debbie Eckert, I feel like there are two main lanes to her visual art – her portraits, she has an incomparable knack for capturing the light in her subject’s spirit, especially when it comes to children; and her nature canvases which are all about that magical glow. Right away I knew Approach, the full moon’s golden glow hitting the water and rippling out, was hers.” – from ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: AN ART, HISTORY, CULTURE TOUR 2 – CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2018 (coverage of the 2018 Independence Visual Arts Exhibition, spotlighting several local artists including one former Wadadli Pen finalist) 

REVIEWS

Doe Songs
“This is a fascinating collection, recommended for readers who like their poetry with teeth, claws and a dash of surrealism.” – PN Review of Doe Songs, an acclaimed poetry collection by Danielle Boodoo Fortune (past Wadadli Pen judge and patron, Trinidad and Tobago writer, illustrator – including of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse) – Also check out Danielle Boodoo Fortune in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 30, 26, 25, 22, 18, 17, 14, 11, 5, 4, 2, and 1

For reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans, go here.

INTERVIEWS

“I acknowledge the assimilation of many writers from what I think of as a Caribbean Tradition in the writing of my first novel Witchbroom. Africa, India, Europe all mixed up – a creole culture, so many languages. That’s what I celebrate. Beacon movement, our part in Harlem Renaissance, but also what I call the greats of the 50s, 60s, 70s novelists, poets and historians and now such a lot going on, many many more women: poets, story tellers, novelists, historians, Bridget Brereton; critics – Ramchand and Rohlehr, setting the pace in 1977. Dear Pat Ismond! London calling: New Beacon, Bogle Overture. And let’s adopt Jimmy Baldwin. I went on pilgrimage last December to St Paul de Vence. Volunteering at The George Padmore Institute. I get so excited at the lives and the works that are being archived there.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“When I was writing my dissertation in the 80s, this was my initial quest to unearth the first and earliest novel/poem/play, anything by a Caribbean Woman. As a teenager I had read Herbert G. De Lisser, 1929, novel The White Witch of Rose Hall, but I yearned for the stories of black enslaved women and free working class Caribbean women. I read the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands,1857; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, 1831, and I wanted to find the Caribbean equivalent to Phillis Wheatley. I had read poems by Una Marson, and of course everything by Louise Bennett. Read Sylvia Wynter’s novel, The Hills of Hebron, 1962, then stumbled on Phyllis Shand Allfrey, The Orchid House, 1953; Ada Quayle’s first novel, The Mistress, 1957; Eliot Bliss’ Luminous Isle, 1934; and finally Alice Durie’s One Jamaican Gal, 1939. Although, Durie is an outsider, a white American who married a Creole Jamaican, her text offers important insights. Sadly, when I was doing field research in Jamaica and sought out and met her son, he confessed to burning her papers and other unpublished novels, because he didn’t know what to do with them, he claimed. This was a man with a successful business and warehouse. I was so angry I gritted my teeth to keep from slapping him. If this was the fate of an upper class white woman, then what chance during those earlier times for the poems and novels of a poor black woman, especially in the Caribbean.” – Opal Palmer Adisa  – Also check out Opal Palmer Adisa in Reading Room and Gallery 21, 13,  5, 4, and 1.

***

James book
“MARLON JAMES: A lot of it came out of all the research and reading I was doing. African folklore is just so lush. There’s something so relentless and sensual about African mythology. Those stranger elements aren’t about me trying to score edgy post-millennial points. They are old elements. A lot of this book was about taking quite freely from African folklore, specifically from the area below the Sahara Desert. And that’s important to me. Mostly when people think of sophisticated Africa, they think of Egypt. And even that they attribute to aliens.” – Interview magazine. Also check out Marlon James in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 28, 18, 1514, 6, and 1.

For Antiguans and Barbudans discussing their art, go here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

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Celebrating Innovation: Team Project Jaguar Triumphs at DadliHack 2019

Let me make sure I have this right because it’s not my usual forte though it caught my interest because it was about motivating young people to innovate solutions to climate change – what I hear is encouraging young people to create. Right?

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That’s Team Project Jaguar of Antigua and Barbuda, the youngest team in the contest, collecting their $5000 prize at DadliHack 2019 for a “Data analysis system that logs data from events like Sargassum seaweed occurrences and meteorological data (sea surface temperature, tides, winds)…then applie(s) it to statistical algorithms to analyze patterns, trends and make predictions. Chemical sensors will be placed on relevant shorelines to detect and log the presence of Sargassum. The insight will be sold to hotels, restaurants and other stakeholders in the tourism industry so that they can prepare and tackle the problem before it even hits our shores. It’s all about being proactive rather than reactive to the effects of climate change on islands.” (Source: oceangeneration.org)

This innovation – an online platform called NADIS – was adjudged winner alongside reportedly fierce competition from across the region (who did their three-minute pitches via skype), “based on criteria including speed of build and delivery of the solution, who and how many people they would be helping, and the self-resilience of the solution.” (Source: oceangeneration.org)

Ocean Generation, according to their website, worked along with local company ACT, which supplied the high speed internet connection that allowed the hackathon teams to explore and develop their ideas; and the goal was to build climate change awareness among young people. “Ocean Generation held a tech training course for children ages 12-16 to develop their interests and inform them of the potential perils of climate change. The focus was on the urgency for an elevated infrastructure, and the required refurbished resilience as they pave the road ahead.” (Source: oceangeneration.org)

Pitched ideas “ranged from community application to connect skilled laborers to find employment after natural disasters, to … a post-disaster drone system to identify crisis areas… (to) an idea to assist commercial and residential properties with energy efficient technology which can improve the energy management of small island developing states.” The panel of judges included Donna Levin (MIT business professor), Dr Martin Edlund CEO of Minesto, Jonas Michanek SONY/IDEON executive, alongside local Antiguan representatives.

Going forward a hub will be set up in Antigua and Barbuda to support not only the winners and to incubate their idea, but a variety of ideas from the DadliHack with the goal of activating and possibly testing winning climate change responses as soon as 2019.

Kudos.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of Wadadli Pen, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. 

There’s still time to vote in the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year initiative.

 

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More Losses

The Caribbean arts community has recently lost Andrea Levy and Ron Savory.

About Ron Savory (by John Robert Lee):

“I knew him from his first days in St. Lucia, sometime in the 70’s, helped him set up exhibitions and met him often at his studio and at exhibitions of other artists. He was always passionate about Caribbean politics, history, the arts. I remember he was an enthusiastic promoter of Ivan Sertima’s book “They came before Columbus” and ordered copies that he could sell or pass on to friends. He loved the BBC, and was a jazz and classical music aficionado. Ron was part of that generation like Derek Walcott who, while passionately anti-colonial, appreciated the best of Western civilization. Like the artists of his generation, and those of us who sat at their feet as younger arrivals, he mourned that the Caribbean never moved beyond its weaknesses and the endemic disease of colonialism, to develop its great potential as a people who could manage their affairs in a more productive and efficient way. He also regretted the perennial neglect of the arts by successive governments. He had long given up any faith in Caribbean politics or politicians. After experiencing the Guyana of the Burnham years, after the tremendous promises of that turbulent period in Caribbean society, he and many Guyanese artists, and indeed citizens, lost hope in political change as a way to a more mature society and self-respecting civilization. So I read it all anyway, no doubt adding layers of my own younger-generation disillusionments.”

Read the full obit.

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About Andrea Levy:

‘Her publisher Headline said it was “hugely saddened” by her death on 14 February, adding that she “had been ill for some time”.

The poet Benjamin Zephaniah said of Levy: “In the future if anybody wants to have a look at how the Windrush generation arrived here and how we the sons and daughters of the Windrush generation survived and are surviving, they have to refer to Andrea’s work .”

Actress and director Kathy Burke said Levy was “such a great writer” and that The Long Song had been “the best thing on telly last Christmas”.

Levy did not start writing until she was in her mid-30s, after enrolling in a creative writing class at an adult education college in London.

In 1994 she published her first novel, Every Light in the House Burnin′, a semi-autobiographical look at a young woman growing up in north London in the 1960s.

Before that, little had been written about the lives of Jamaican immigrants and their families.

It was not until the release of Small Island in 2004 that her writing really took off, with her fourth novel earning her the Whitbread Book of the Year, the Orange Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

The novel was praised for its compelling, intertwined tales of Jamaicans who moved from their own small island to Britain, and the Britons in whose home they lodged.’

Read the full obit.

 

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Two of My Faves

Cleaning out some files just now, I came across a release I neglected to share when it was still news (read it here: OESnews18-PresAward_6-2-2018). It concerns two Caribbean literary giants – Earl Lovelace of Trinidad and Tobago, and America-based Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti – being awarded by the St. Martin’s Book Fair. From the release: “The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted
for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). I saw the accompanying photo and wanted to share it along with a note on each of these writers, two of my faves and writers you should know if you don’t already.

nerissa golden pic of danticat_lovelace_BF18_6-2-18.jpg

Their books (the ones I’ve read)

Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) – This was an Oprah’s Book Club pick (1998) right around the time a book club I was then a part of introduced me to it. Oprah being the literary king and queen maker at the time, it launched her in to the stratosphere not only as a major modern Caribbean voice but as a major author. It was uncomfortable and moving, dealing as it does with home, the mother-daughter dynamic, and purity tests for girls;  definitely a must-read.

The Farming of Bones (1998) – I credit the book club I was a part of at the time for introducing me to this one and unearthing, for me, a part of Caribbean history I knew  nothing about –  the massacre at the border between the two countries of Haitians by Dominicans at the behest of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937. It rocked me in so many ways, thinking about how Haiti has inspired (as the singular example of Black people freeing themselves from bondage) and suffered (paying for their claiming of their ownership of themselves and their country) to this day; thinking of how so many Dominicans have, since the 1980s and continuing, made Antigua their home by that point, of earlier migration, decades before my birth of eastern Caribbean people to the Dominican Republic and other parts of Latin America, of Caribbean people moving for all sorts of reasons, economic and otherwise, of Black people, darker Black people especially, too often being treated as a stain upon the world, undesirables, of how to reconcile all of this ugliness, especially when from slavery to economic recolonization, we won’t even face it. What I liked about this book was the way it insisted we face it. The tensions between Haiti and the DR persist to this day (and Dandicat has become quite a vocal advocate for the humanity of Haitian people in these battles), Haiti is still treated like the world’s problem and not a self-determining nation that showed us the way, the colourist attitudes and their underpinnings in our enslavement is an issue we’ve barely scratched the surface of, but one of the things I like about fiction is how it mixes these big racial, social, historical, and geo political issues in to an engaging, and all too human, story that we can’t shake, long after we’ve forgotten the details. This is a masterpiece and easily one of my favourite books, period.

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2010) – a collection of essays that while they spoke to the challenges of writing about Haiti, spoke to me as a writer trying to write truthfully, the bravery that that requires, and the fear that I may not be up to the task. I love this book for the insights it gives to Dandicat’s journeying but also for the ways it challenges me on my own.

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (2010) – this gripping children’s book of a child trapped in the days after the major Haiti quake of that same year. I believe it was a fundraiser as the country struggled (struggles still) to find its footing; it was also a favourite of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids with which I volunteer (… or have).

Dandicat’s short fiction – of her loose short fiction, my favourite of the ones I’ve read is Ghosts which was published in the New Yorker.

Still on my to read list – Behind the Mountains (2002), The Dew Breaker (2004) , Anacaona: Golden Flower (2005),  Brother, I’m Dying (2007), Claire of the Sea Light (2013) – I’ve actually read excerpts of this one but not the whole book though the excerpts I’ve read make me want to read it in full, and Untwine (2015). Actually I could probably add all the books by her that I haven’t read yet to this list but I’m sticking with the ones already on my TBR.

I’ve read less of Lovelace (less even than I realized) and yet he looms just as large in my literary imagination – in part because he is always part of everyone’s conversation as a pure Caribbean artist who has influenced the way we tell our stories to the world, and is many people’s favourites. The one I remember reading, again with my book club back in the late 90s/early aughts, I believe, is The Wine of Astonishment (1982) – with that iconic cover and its use of Trinidad traditional stick fighting culture (an extension of Africa in the lives of these displaced Africans). The details are fuzzy but the Bolo character is one of the things/people/entities that imprinted on me from this book (and from many Caribbean books I’ve read); I love a great character. I’m now realizing as I write this that I may have only thought I read The Dragon Can’t Dance; it is one of those Caribbean classics you grow up with until it feels like you’ve read it because you know it so well…only, maybe not (this was me and Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea for the longest while). I can’t say for sure which probably means I need to re/read it. So I’m going to put The Dragon Can’t Dance back on the TBR alongside the ones already there – Is Just a Movie and Salt.

Their impact

Lovelace is “celebrated for his descriptive, dramatic fiction about West Indian culture. Using Trinidadian speech patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures.” (Britannica)

“Earl Lovelace is well known for his groundbreaking novels about carnival and
religion in Trinidad and Tobago, The Dragon Can’t Dance and The Wine of
Astonishment. His more recent award-winning novels, Salt and Is Just a Movie have
advanced his regional and international standing as a noted Caribbean author.” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

I remember we did an informal poll on the now (unfortunately) defunct Caribbean Literary Salon re favourite Caribbean writer and Lovelace won easily.

His awards include a 1980 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1986 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best book (Salt), being shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1998, a 2002 Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of the West Indies, the 2011 Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature (Is Just a Movie), and the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize, fiction category and overall winner (Is Just a Movie) among others.

“Edwidge Danticat, (born January 19, 1969, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Haitian American author whose works focus on the lives of women and their relationships. She also addresse(s) issues of power, injustice, and poverty.” (Britannica)

“Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA), a much in-demand writer around the world, is the
author of Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!; The
Farming of Bones; and Claire of the Sea Light. She is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way:
Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States. A MacArthur fellow, Danticat
has written six books for children and young adults. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, is a
USA National Book Critics Circle Award winner.” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

When this blog posted on Caribbean Favourites in 2010, four Dandicat books were listed with fans of the book crediting The Farming of Bones for “unflinchingly and vividly rendering (a brutal chapter in Haitian-Dominican Republic history)”, Breath, Eyes, Memory’s “simply beautiful writing”, Krik? Krak? as a book that “weaves love, heartbreak, pride, pain, and raw human emotion” in to its storytelling (this fan also described Dandicat as “truly gifted in her story telling”), and The Dew Breaker as an example of “truly amazing writing” and “a powerful exploration of the effect of political violence on individuals and communities”.

Dandicat was named by Harper’s Bazaar as ‘1 of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference’, featured in The New York Times as one of ’30 under 30′ people to watch, and called one of the ’15 Gutsiest Women of the Year’ by Jane magazine. She received fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines. She won a Pushcart for Between the Pool and the Gardenias’, Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelist prize (1996), the American Book Award for The Farming of Bones (1999), the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for The Dew Breaker (2005), and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for Create Dangerously (2011), among others. She is a repeat National Book Award nominee (Krik? Krak?, Brother, I’m Dying) and the recipient of honorary degrees from Smith College (2012), Yale (2013), and the University of the West Indies (2017) – possibly more. She is a MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant recipient (2009).

“Both authors are also courageous advocates for the advancement of Caribbean
sovereignty and human rights” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

Our crossings

I’ve met each of these authors at least once – Lovelace at the International Congress of Caribbean Writers (2013) and Dandicat at the Miami Book Fair (2018). It can be fun to meet your heroes…it can be uneventful; one was one of these and one was the other but both remain as mental keepsakes for a writer (me!) very much inspired by them both.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. You’re also invited to follow me on my author blog http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

 

 

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$600 Worth of Books to Go to a Local School…if you vote

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This is the press release we sent out re the prize for the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice initiative with some updates to reflect developments since the release was issued.

Schools Prize to be Given in the Name of Winning Author/Book;
#readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

While there is no Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2019, the Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda prize will benefit a school in Antigua and Barbuda thanks to two regular, generous patrons who have pledged a combined EC$600 to the initiative.

Anyone reading this can help a school in Antigua and Barbuda get some local and/or Caribbean books for its class/school library by voting. Students can vote too. The donated funds will be used to purchase books which will go to the winning author’s alma mater or a school of his/her choice. This contribution will be made in the author’s name on behalf of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a project which has been nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda since 2004.

The Book of the Year prize, covering books published 2017 to launch date 2018, is intended to boost not just the winning local author but the local literary arts in general. With the gift of books, it will also serve to encourage the reading of local and regional literature among our young people.

Anyone wishing to bump up the gift by adding a cash component to the already pledged patronage, email wadadlipen@gmail.com Everyone else is being reminded by Wadadli Pen to vote – Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, author Joanne C. Hillhouse, has said that while they have the minimum number of votes to ensure that a winning author will be named, it has been disappointing that more people have not taken the time to vote. “You don’t’ have to have read all the books, but if you or your child has read even one of the books and liked it, it costs you nothing but a few moments, not even a minute, to vote,” she stressed. To vote, click the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda link , and comment below the post with your choice of book and a reason why you think it should win.

So far, the leading vote getters are The ABCs of the Black Panther Party by S. Khalilah Brann (with illustrator Chemay Morales-James), F.A.K.E. by Vivian Luke, How to Work Six Jobs on an Island: an Island Boy’s Dream by Shawn N. Maile, London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne, and This Woman Can: the No Bullsh*t Guide for Women Who Lead by Janice Sutherland. Also on the board are Be with You: a Valentine’s Romance by Roxy Wilson, Friends to Forever by Roxy Wilson, The Gift (Falling like a Johnson Book 1) by Rilzy Adams, The Guardian Vampire by Roxy Wilson, and Dreamland Barbuda: A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island by Asha Frank, and Legend of Integrity and Courage by Nuffield J. Burnette. This means that there are 35 books with not even a single vote – this, in spite of Hillhouse stressing that authors can vote (just not for their own books) and their entire families and fan bases are also welcome to vote. “This is not science, it is a celebration of our literary arts,” she said. “If there’s a book you read and loved, show it some love, and if you haven’t read any of the books, pick one, buy it, read it, and, if you like it, vote for it before the end of March. This is Black History Month but how about we make it A & B literary month, and show a local author some love.”

“it really had me in the feels” 

“straightforward and relatable”

“excellent”

“inspiring”

“A fantastic read”

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